Top Boy Academy opens doors for young creatives

The free two-day event enabled young people to hear from and connect with a cohort of actors, filmmakers, DJs and more

TOP BOY ACADEMY: Michael Ward, second left, and Jasmine Jobson, second right, (Image: Laurence Howe Photo)

TOP BOY has evolved into much more than just a series. The third season, which is available to watch in its entirety on Netflix now, has launched the careers of several young actors and prompted new conversations about the many issues explored in the show.

Outside of the incredible impact the latest season has had on the lives of the emerging actors involved, it’s also opened doors for young people interested in TV and other creative disciplines to find out more about how to pursue their passions and meet those who have done just that.

Seeing people that look like you on screen, regardless of how closely their life experiences reflect your own, especially in a world where this still does not happen enough can have a profound effect on viewers. Representation is powerful. It cultivates aspirations.

TALKING TOP BOY: Ashley Walters, Kieran Yates and Ronan Bennett (Image: Laurence Howe Photo)

The Top Boy and Netflix team have gone beyond on- and off-screen representation in their work to encourage young people from diverse backgrounds to get involved in the industry. On September 28 and 29, Netflix and NTS united to host Top Boy Academy, a free two-day event aimed at 16-25-year-olds held at The Curtain hotel in east London.

Across the weekend, young people attended talks and workshops where they were able to directly speak to people involved in the creative industries and get tips on how to navigate notoriously challenging aspects such as recording auditioning tapes.

There were also opportunities to get hands-on with introductions to podcast making, DJing and sound engineering. Grace Ladoja and BBC 1Xtra’s Tiffany Calver were among those who spoke to the audience about their journeys, while Chuckie Online of Halfcast Podcast shared his tips on starting your own YouTube Channel. Top Boy’s Ashley Walters and Ronan Bennett closed the first day with a keynote talk hosted by Kieran Yates with Michael Ward, Jasmine and Des Hamilton bringing the entire event to a close with their own on the Sunday.

SHARING KNOWLEDGE: Grace Ladoja speaks about her journey (Image: Laurence Howe Photo)

Anyone with an interest in working in the creative industries knows that if you are not connected, getting in front of the right people to simply seek advice, show your work and what you can do, let alone get opportunities, can be an extremely difficult task. The format of the event meant that those who attended were not just talked at but had the opportunity to ask burning questions, be inspired and make contacts.

Aspiring writers, show runners and TV talent all capitalised on the chance to speak one-on-one with those have already had success in the industry and those individuals were happy to give personalised tips – and, in some instances, even share their contact details.

The fact that Top Boy Academy was free to attend, made it accessible to those who often face financial obstacles when entering the arts, and demonstrated Netflix’s commitment to breaking down those barriers.

We have witnessed how acting talent from Bennett’s series have been propelled into the limelight and thanks to Top Boy Academy, which has provided young people with tools and tips for creative careers, it may be that a whole new generation of writers are changing the face of British TV in the near future.

Season three of Top Boy is available to watch on Netflix now.

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